From “Green Grass Grew All Around” to “One-Eyed One-Horned Flying Purple People Eater,” Rani Arbo & daisy Mayhem got their audience moving and grooving. 

The band hit the stage at Keene State College’s Recital Hall, in the Redfern Arts Center, on Saturday Feb. 22. The 11 a.m. concert gave young children and parents an energy-filled morning.

Rani Arbo & daisy Mayhem grew out of another band called Salamander Crossing, which Arbo and Andrew Kinsey were a part of for about ten years.

“We wanted to keep it going and do something light- hearted so we formed this group in 2000,” Arbo stated. Arbo grew up in New York City, and is the fiddler and one of the vocalists for the group.

While Arbo and Kinsey initiated the group, Arbo’s husband, Scott Kessel, is the percussionist of the band and was a key factor in the creation.

“He subbed in with the other band and was playing with us sometimes so we really liked the sound of the drums,” Arbo stated, “And the electric and acoustic guitar took us out of that blue-grass zone where we had been and gave us more rhythmic and textural options.”

Those options would not be possible without Anand Nayak. Nayak is the electric and acoustic guitarist for the group. Nayak became involved with the group because of previous compilations with Kessel on a children’s album for the act Steve Songs.

“I love both instruments,” Nayak added. “I love the acoustic guitar just for the natural beauty of the tone and for the rhythmic quality.”

He continued and said it was interesting to incorporate the electric guitar because the music is so acoustically based.

Kinsey, the bass, banjo and ukulele player for the band, was one of the founders.“I try to be spontaneous and not over-think,” Kinsey said.

He added that his contribution is also to steer people away from over-thinking or over analyzing what they are doing in terms of the arrangement.

“You can arrange, but you can’t forget what comes naturally,” Kinsey said. He added he wants music to be considered accessible in ways other than hearing it on the radio.

“It is something people can play at home, for each other, and music should be about a feeling not perfect notes,” Kinsey explained.

It’s about creating space for other people to enjoy themselves or reflect or dance or have fun and there is a very giving part that I think I have had from when I was a little girl,” Arbo said.

She explained growing up where she did has influenced her progression in music.

Arbo began playing the fiddle in college and used it to help the band flourish.

“The fiddle can bring the ho-down but it can also be sweet and reflective,” Arbo continued.

She explained she wants her audience members to feel like they are being paid attention to, which she achieves through both instrument and energy.

With everything from the fiddle, banjo, ukulele, guitar and percussion, Rani Arbo & daisy Mayhem has music to entertain an audience from preschool age and older.


Haley Erdbrink can be reached at

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